Can someone briefly explain:

What is the difference between Phenomenological, Transcendental and Eidetic reduction?

What the 'natural attitude means?

What it means to bracket the natural attitude?

Why Phenomenology wants to do this?

  • 3
    Re your "Why Phenomenology wants to do this", possibly it's not unlike your curiosity to post a series of questions at its root. To attain Transcendental and possibly Eidetic reduction in Husserl's system you have to go through the Phenomenological reduction first. The Natural Attitude is the everyday way in which we live in the world wherein we presume ourselves independent from the things around us, we egoistically consider ourselves to be the subject amongst a world of objects, the “measurer” or determinant of values, and yet we presume that all things are controlled by various laws... Jun 16, 2022 at 20:21
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    If something upsets the natural attitude we can bracket all of these egoistic and scientific presumptions and adopt The phenomenological attitude. It's like bracketing several objects then we arrive at a set of objects which is subtly a different thing in the usual ZFC set theory... Another example is you put out some bounty to your question to try to attract more people to answer as a natural attitude since people are naturally attracted to fame, however, since unlike other common sites this site is full of philosophers and wanna-be-philosophers, it may be bracketed and not much effect... Jun 16, 2022 at 20:29
  • Nice thanks, though I don't know why you wouldn't just write this as an answer.
    – PDT
    Jun 21, 2022 at 10:13
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    See David Woodruff Smith , Husserl ( Routledge) that makes it clear that phenomenology is only one part of Husserl's system. Phenomenology aims at disclosing the " eidos " ( essence) of consciousness, but philosophy as a whole aims at disclosing the " eidos" of all ontological regions, not only the ( priviledged ) region of consciousness. May 14, 2023 at 10:01
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    Also, Dan Zahavi's book on Husserl. May 14, 2023 at 10:02

3 Answers 3


In Husserlian transcendental phenomenology, each reduction is performed for a specific purpose. The distinction between the transcendental reduction and eidetic reduction is significant, whereas the phenomenological reduction includes the transcendental reduction as part of the phenomenological reduction.

Generally speaking, the method of phenomenology requires the phenomenological reduction, which consists of the epoché (bracketing), which is the negative moment, and the transcendental reduction, which is the positive moment. It is a mistake to think of this as separate and procedural steps to take as they occur all at once. In the epoché, you suspend your naive acceptance of the world as existent, which is characteristic of the natural attitude (see Ideas I, Section 27-30 on “general thesis” of the natural attitude) in order to reduce all of your experiences into mere “phenomena”. This is the realm of transcendental experience and you discover that despite your suspension of your naive acceptance of the world, there is still phenomena for your consciousness. This recognition of phenomena for consciousness is the transcendental reduction, where the phenomena of “the world” (Being) is reduced to consciousness.

Eidetic reduction on the other hand involves the grasping of essences of phenomena through eidetic variation (in some texts, Husserl calls this free phantasy variation) where you are searching for invariant structures (essences) of phenomena. Eidetic variation is an act of the imagination where you vary the phenomena (as a modification, an as-if mode, or what Husserl calls potentialities) to the point where you reach the invariant, or unchanging or ideal structure of the intended meaning of the phenomena.

Husserl performs the bracketing in an attempt to provide a “presupposition-less” starting point for philosophy (see Cartesian Meditations) and to investigate the relation between subjectivity and the world and to ground objectivity or objective knowledge.

I hope this helps.


Phenomenological reduction, also known as epoché, is a method used in phenomenology to suspend judgment about the existence of the objects of experience, allowing the conscious experience itself to be studied. This is done by bracketing, or setting aside, one's assumptions and preconceptions about the nature of the world.

Transcendental reduction, on the other hand, is a method used in transcendental phenomenology to investigate the conditions of the possibility of experience. This involves examining the structures of consciousness that make experience possible, such as the categories of understanding and the forms of intuition.

Eidetic reduction, also known as "seeing as," is a method used in eidetic phenomenology to investigate the essential structures of experience. This involves using imaginative variation to explore the essential features of an experience, in order to gain insight into its essential nature.

The natural attitude is the default way in which we approach the world, without reflecting on the nature of our experience or the structures of consciousness that make it possible. In the natural attitude, we take the existence of objects in the world for granted and do not question the validity of our experiences.

Bracketing the natural attitude involves setting aside, or suspending, the natural attitude in order to focus on the structures of consciousness and the nature of experience itself. This is done in order to gain a deeper understanding of the conscious experience and the conditions that make it possible.

Phenomenology seeks to bracket the natural attitude in order to gain a better understanding of the nature of consciousness and the structures that make experience possible. By doing this, phenomenologists hope to gain insight into the fundamental nature of reality and our experience of it.


From Daniel Pimbé ( a retired university level teacher also author of Karl Popper : The Forbidden Explanation - L'explication interdite)

Link to Pimbé's full article on his personal site " Philosophia perennis" : http://www.daniel-pimbe.com/pages/les-maitres-a-penser/page-19.html

Short answer : "the natural attitude comes from the fact that consciousness has no interiority, the philosophical attitude comes from the fact that consciousness has no "outside" "

Note : translated by Google Translate


"Why must it be so? Why must we abstain from an act in order to bring its meaning to light, refrain from believing in order to discover the secret of belief, disengage ourselves in order to reveal the principle of our engagement? How does it come about that our relationship to the world cannot escape the alternative which obliges us to posit its existence without understanding it or to understand it without positing it? The common root of these two attitudes, we find it in the extraordinary property of the human conscience which Husserl calls " intentionality ", and which he illustrates by a formula at once obvious, even trivial, and enigmatic: " Any consciousness is consciousness of something ". This is an internal necessity, from which no consciousness, no act of consciousness, nothing that deserves to be called conscious in one way or another, can escape. It is, says Husserl, a “ prescription of essence ”: it is prescribed to consciousness, by its essence of consciousness, not to be able to be consciousness “very short”, to have to be “awareness of…”. We cannot attribute to this genitive "of" the subordinate role of a simple adjuvant, we cannot imagine a consciousness which would have its own substance within itself and would only be put incidentally in relation with a external object. And this is so because consciousness has no inside , and neither has it an outside .. It belongs to its essence to move towards what is not it, to aim for it, to radiate in its direction, whether by perceiving it, remembering it, imagining it, judging it or 'magnet.

It is in the intentionality of consciousness that our two attitudes are rooted, the natural attitude and the philosophical attitude: the natural attitude comes from the fact that consciousness has no interior, the philosophical attitude comes from the fact that consciousness has no exterior. If the first deserves to be called "natural", it is because it results directly from intentionality. Since consciousness has no interior, since it is nothing other than a perpetual explosion towards things, we are spontaneously dedicated to the world, attached to it, having nothing but it to say. From this point of view, nothing is better founded in us than the thesis of the world, supported without reserve, without brackets. But in this result of intentionality, intentionality itself does not show itself: the tireless generosity with which our consciousness projects us towards the world is completely obscured. We are then blind to the fact that consciousness has no exterior, that it does not need to be related to an object, that it is itself this relation and that it is therefore to itself, and not to the world, that we owe our attachment to the world. All of this we will only see if we free our gaze, naturally prisoner of the world, byneutralizing the latter using the bracketing method. This attitude of conversion allowing our gaze to inspect the intentional acts of conscience in order to discover the meaning of the world, we can rightly qualify it as “philosophical”.

To effect this conversion, let us first direct our gaze towards a particular, but privileged, form of intentionality: perception .of any thing. In perception, in fact, our consciousness aims at the thing as real, actually present before us: it is clear that the thesis of the world is intimately linked to such an aim. This first step in philosophy will require of us only a modest and partial parenthesis. Without going so far as to completely neutralize the thesis of the world, let us content ourselves for the moment with putting aside all that science has been able to teach us about the world and about this event of the world which is the perception of a thing. by a human being. Let us therefore forget the physical theories, the biological hypotheses, the psychological explanations of perception and let us focus on the very meaning of the act of perceiving as it is experienced, on the intentionality which animates it, on the particular way in which he aims at his object. phenomenology: "by describing it as it presents itself, by respecting its own way of appearing, let us try to grasp the inner law which governs, orders and delimits all its manifestations."

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    I wasn't really sure why the final two paragraphs were in a box? Everything below the line quotes the referenced book right? Are those passages non-continuous in the text..?
    – CriglCragl
    May 15, 2023 at 10:16

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